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Full text of "Toledo's Old West End"

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^EbledoS Old Wegt End 




TOLEDO'S MUSEUM AND 
ITS NEIGHBORHOOD 



This issue of Museum News reviews the history of the Museum's 
building and the architecture of its neighborhood, Toledo's Old West End. 
It is appropriate at a time when our city is vitally concerned with urban 
conservation and renewal. 

For more than fifty years the Art Museum has stood on its present 
site, a lively, useful, attractive cultural center, loved and used by the 
people of this community, visited and praised by Toledo's guests from 
every state in the union and from every corner of the world. The treasures 
it contains and the varied educational services it offers to everyone with- 
out discrimination are world famous. 

We should remember, however, that Toledo's Museum has stood not 
only as a friendly dynamic attraction but, also, as a solid element of 
stability in a neighborhood already well established when the first sector 
of the Museum was built in 1912. 

Can this neighborhood, Toledo's Old West End, survive in an era of 
growth and change? We think it can and should. The large houses lining 
the shaded streets form an integral area which represents one of the most 
important remaining examples of American residential architecture of the 
late Victorian and Edwardian times. 

There are numerous examples in many American cities today where 
interested civic groups have preserved architecture of such urban areas by 
thoughtful adaptation to modern uses. It is vitally important to the cultural 
integrity of Toledo that Toledo's Old West End be preserved as a functional 
and living element in the city's urban renewal plans. 

Otto Wittmann, Director 



COVER: GERBER HOUSE, Lithograph, 1875, by Joseph K. 
French (Detail). 




FACADE, 1912 

THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE MUSEUM BUILDING 



When the Toledo Museum of Art was founded in 1901 by a small group 
of Toledo citizens under the leadership of Edward Drummond Libbey, its first 
quarters were in the Gardner Building in downtown Toledo. This location was 
opened to the public on December 2, 1901, and housed the new Museum's first 
three exhibitions. The earliest building devoted solely to the Museum's needs 
was the Brown residence, a large brick house at Madison and Thirteenth Street. 
Remodeled to include three ample sky-lighted galleries on the upper floor with 
storage and classroom space on the lower, it was dedicated as the Art Museum 
on January 19, 1903. It soon proved too small, and wings were constructed on 
either side giving an additional five galleries. However, the Museum's first 
director, George W. Stevens, was determined to have a permanent structure 
built specifically for the Museum. 

The new building became a possibility in 1907 when Mr. Libbey offered to 
provide the site of the Maurice A. Scott estate on Monroe at Scottwood in the 
fashionable West End. This acreage was filled with great forest oaks and there- 
fore well suited for conversion into the beautiful park planned to surround the 
new building. It also was centrally located on the main public transit lines. 
The design of the building was basically due to Mr. Stevens' sensitivity to the 
needs of combining the functions of a museum and an educational center into 
one structure which would encourage rather than awe the visitor. The architects 
employed to turn Mr. Stevens' ideas into workable form were the firm of 
Green & Wicks of Buffalo, N. Y., assisted by Harry W. Wachter of Toledo. 
The first portion of the present building was opened on January 17, 1912 with 
all the ceremony and fanfare warranted by the impressive white marble struc- 
ture. It must be remembered that by 1912 many major cities in the Midwest 



were already bidding for cultural attention by constructing permanent art 
museums. National acclaim acknowledged Toledo's building to be one of the 
finest of its kind in the world. 

The 1912 section is the front part of the present central portion and con- 
tained thirteen galleries, a library, director's office and a 288 seat auditorium 
called the Hemicycle. The ground floor had rooms for additional exhibition 
space as well as for classrooms, storage and packing facilities. The main floor 
galleries, although large enough, were also arranged so that a friendly feeling 
prevailed. This sense of intimacy has always characterized Toledo's Museum 
building, unlike many of the other museums built before or during this period, 
and was due to the theories of Mr. Libbey and Mr. Stevens, that a museum 
should appeal to everyone. 

The exterior of the building anticipated the friendliness of the interior. 
Although formal in accord with the ideas of the day, it was not pretentious. 
A wide Ionic colonnade was flanked by unadorned walls, the whole surmounted 
by a low entablature. Broad steps and terraces, as wide as the colonnade, led 
up to the entrance. White Vermont marble contrasted pleasantly with the green, 
luxurious landscaping. Toledo had every right to be proud of its new building. 
In little more than a decade a dream had become a glistening, solid reality. 

The second phase of the building, because of World War I, was not realized 
until 1926 when enlargements were made to the rear, squaring-out the earlier 
rectangular structure, and doubling the former exhibition space. The Hemicycle 
was enlarged to an 800 seat auditorium and formed a center about which were 
ranged the galleries. The exterior of the rear facade was articulated with a long 
Ionic colonnade matching the Monroe Street side and giving a formal finish 
to the rear entrance. 

ORIGINAL SKETCH FOR 1912 BUILDING BY 
GEORGE W. STEVENS, about 1907 




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The next and most important enlargement occured in 1931-1933 when, at 
the request of Mrs. Libbey, construction of the east and west wings was under- 
taken. These extensions which tripled the Museum's size were anticipated by 
Mr. Libbey, who made provision for them in his will. Construction was under- 
taken at this time because of the concerned interest of Mrs. Libbey and the 
Museum authorities in providing jobs for workers in desperate need during the 
early years of the great depression. 

Edward B. Green, surviving partner of the Green & Wicks firm, designed 
the formal elements of the extended plan. The arrangement of the interior 
space was undertaken, as previously, by Museum officials who knew only too 
well the required needs. Two major elements went into the plan. The first and 
most spectacular was the great Peristyle, a concert hall with a seating capacity 
of 1,750; its classical style was entirely Mrs. Libbey's conception. The design 
of its unique suspended accoustic ceiling was a "first" in American construction 
and a feat accomplished by the contracting firm of A. Bentley & Sons, Inc. of 
Toledo. The second element, equally unique but generally unrealized by the 
average Museum visitor, was the incorporation within the shining new marble 
walls of space for school class-rooms and future galleries. It is this space that 
still houses the Museum's world-famous educational program and allows the 
flexibility and growth of gallery installation. Few other great American museums 
built during the first half of the twentieth century evidenced such foresight. 

To harmonize the wings with the original 1912 facade the formal elements 
of the main entrance were halved placing shortened colonnades on the Monroe 
Street projection of each wing. These entrances had the broad steps and terraces 
of the main entrance, but reduced to fit their abbreviated horizontal scale. 



CONSTRUCTION, 1924 




The prime purpose of the wings was to provide adequate and suitable space 
for the all important educational aspect of the Museum. While the Peristyle in 
the East Wing provided a magnificent setting for the distinguished musical 
events scheduled by the Museum, nearly the entire ground floor of the West 
Wing was devoted to the functions of the School of Design and furnished the 
most modern and comprehensive educational space found in any museum in 
the world. The model established in Toledo has influenced museum educational 
planning for the past thirty-five years. 

Landscaping has always played an important part in the Museum's plan- 
ning, and provides an impressive setting for the building. The giant forest oaks 
of the Scott estate comprise more than half the trees on the Museum's ground 
and offer a 200 year old stand of virgin timber which is nearly unique in northern 
Ohio. The great copper beeches next to Monroe Street were over 100 years old 
when they were planted about 1900. The 1912 landscaping scheme also incor- 
porated extensive planting of additional trees and shrubbery. In 1931-33 the 
grounds were re-arranged to allow for the new wings. At this time the western- 
most copper beech was transported from its original location, and moved on 
specially layed railroad tracks to its present position next to Monroe Street, a 
distance of about 300 feet. Other changes included the planting of ancient 
European yew trees around the broad entrance terraces. The magnificent lawn 
was the result of a twelve-inch deep specially prepared soil base. 

The Museum and its grounds not only form a beautiful setting for its famed 
collection of art, but also form a rich frame on the southern border of the 
Old West End. 

James Key Reeve 



(TOP RIGHT) PERISTYLE DURING CONSTRUCTION, 1931 
(BOTTOM RIGHT) GALLERIES DURING CONSTRUCTION, 1931 



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TOLEDO, 1875, map compiled by S. W. Durant 




TOLEDO'S OLD WEST END ARCHITECTURE 

The gracious tree-lined streets of Toledo's Old West End form a restful 
setting for a late Victorian and Edwardian urban residential area virtually 
unique in mid-twentieth century America. Problems inherent with urban growth 
tend to obliterate these comfortable homes built for an age now vanished. How- 
ever, owners and some far-sighted city planners have preferred to preserve the 
architecture by adaption to new uses. The importance of the individual archi- 
tecture, the landscaping, and the well planned urban design all merit our serious 
efforts to stabalize and preserve the Old West End. 

The development of this tract of approximately 1000 acres began after 
1865 when prosperous merchants, and later, industrialists, sought to escape the 
growing commercialism along the river front. The character of the area was 
established with over-size ground plots divided from neighbors by park-like 
landscaping. Unlike the earlier owner-built houses lining the river in Lower 
Town, the residences were, for the most part, designed by architects. This fact 
alone drew a group of competent men to the city — architects who were to shape 
Toledo in the early years of the twentieth century. 

Late Victorian architecture is generally referred to as the Age of Eclecticism. 
In trying to rival the grand architecture of Europe, American architects borrowed 
ideas from older, highly respected styles. They studied and freely adapted the 
Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque styles of Italy, France and England. This 
borrowing, or selective imitation, is called eclecticism. 

Indicative of sources Americans used is the still existing library of George S. 
Mills, one of Toledo's major architects of the period. Noticeable in it are stand- 
ard works on historic European architecture, ornament and building methods. 
Equally important are the periodicals publishing the latest trends and the 
revival of earlier styles by the leading eclectic English and American architects 
of Mills' day. While the Toledo architect was neither extensively trained or 
traveled, his library could provide for any contingency which might arise. 

What made American Victorian architecture so different from its European 
counterpart was the use of timber in an infinite variety of ways. The so-called 
Shingle Style, used extensively by Toledo architects, was a transliteration into 
wood from the English stone, brick and timber. While Old West End archi- 
tecture is eclectic, it is not mere imitation but a selective and skillful adaptation 
in available materials. 



Photographs of Toledo houses by Bruce McLaughlin. 



Somewhat changed, the Old West End continues to serve the needs of the 
community. Although chiefly residential, with rising maintenance costs and the 
attraction of the suburbs, many of the houses now function as apartment build- 
ings, businesses and charities. Cars squeeze through porte cocheres intended for 
carriages; the modern-day hubbub of traffic sounds through the streets; evidence 
of new life for these old houses is everywhere. The following pages illustrate a 
chronological selection of its distinctive architecture. 

Gill Wright Bentley 




WELKER-WILLING HOUSE, 2307 Monroe Street 
architect unknown, built about 1865 



This is probably the earliest house still standing in the Old West End. It reflects 
the simple row-house style of an earlier era along Toledo's river front. 




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HENRY PHILIPPS HOUSE (Columbia Villa), 220 Columbia Street, 
architect unknown, built about 1866. 

"A Lombardic Tower," from Lectures in Architecture and Painting 
by John Ruskin, London, 1853. 




'An Italian Villa," from Homestead Archi- 
tecture by Samuel Sloan, Philadelphia, 1861. 

Dominated by its tower and heavy roof 
brackets, this "Tuscan Villa" was fa- 
vored by many mid 19th century eclectic 
architects. Its picturesque silhouette was 
freely adapted from the Medieval archi- 
tecture of north Italy. 




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Though more formal and elaborate than the Philipps House, the Gerber House 
is less picturesque, due primarily to its heavy, ornate detail in the French 
Second Empire Style. It is the personification of the lavishness of Victorian life. 
Gerber commissioned his architect to copy a much admired house on Euclid 
Avenue in Cleveland. 

(LEFT) CHRISTIAN GERBER HOUSE, (Mary Manse College) 
2413 Collingwood, Joseph Morehouse, architect, built, 1872. 




Contemporary lithographic 
view of the Gerber house, 
1875, by Joseph K. French. 



An excellent example of eclectic potpourri, the Scott House, by contempo- 
rary account, was "a happy combination of styles." It mixed elements from 
the American cottage architecture with the patterned wall surfaces of the 
Shingle Style. 




WILLIAM H. 
SCOTT HOUSE, 
2505 Monroe 
Street, architect 
unknown, built, 
1875 (razed, 
1929). 



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REYNOLDS-SECOR HOUSE (Mansionette Apartments), 2035 Collingwood 
Avenue, Edward O. Fallis, architect, built about 1887. 

The English architect, Norman Shaw, popularized a revival of half-timbered 
architecture during the last third of the 19th century. In America it was usually 
rendered in wood shingles or a combination of wood and brick, and called 
"The Shingle Style." In Toledo it occurs in shingles, clapboard and brick 
examples. The style is characterized by generous, "wrap-around" verandas, 
multi-patterned exterior walls, and highly irregular outlines. In the Reynolds- 
Secor House an informal monumentality is achieved through sheer bulk. 

An outstanding example of the Shingle Style on the East Coast. 

T.R. GLOVER HOUSE, 

Milton, Massachusettes, 
W. R. Emerson, architect, 
built, 1879. 








BRIGHAM-BACKUS HOUSE, general view. 



BRIGHAM-BACKUS HOUSE, 

2049 Parkwood Avenue, architect unknown, 
built about 1888 (detail of entrance). 



A clapboard version of the Shingle 
Style with tower, fanciful woodwork 
and stained-glass windows, this well- 
preserved example continues its useful 
life as an apartment house. 





HENAHAN-BREYMANN HOUSE, 2052 Robinwood Avenue, architect 
unknown, built, 1894. 

This massive sandstone castle was built 
by the stone contractor, Michael 
Henahan, for himself. Its Romanesque 
architectural mode related it to the work 
of Henry Hobson Richardson, whose 
Trinity Church in Boston of 1873 won 
praise through the country. 



TRINITY 
CHURCH, I 

Boston, \a 
H. H. Richardson, architect, ss^i 
built 1873-77, view in 1877. Li£ 




A late version of the Shingle Style with wide verandas and bow windows, 
the unpatterned upper walls introduced a formality which anticipated the 
Edwardian Era. 



EDWARD D. LIBBEY 

HOUSE, (Toledo Society 

for Crippled Children), 

2008 Scottwood Avenue, 

David L. Stine, 

architect, built, 1895. 







) 



JULIAN H. TYLER HOUSE, 2251 Robinwood Avenue, Rogers & MacFarland, 
architects, built, 1897. 

Judge Tyler's Detroit architects derived the design of this house from 18th 
century American Georgian sources combined with the diluted Palladianism 
which characterized the work of the New York firm, McKim, Mead & White. 




Joseph Nightingale House, Providence, R. I. 
Caleb Ormsbee, Architect, 1792. 




TILLINGH AST-WILLYS-BELL HOUSE (Oblate Fathers of Mary Immacu- 
late), 2210 Robinwood Avenue, George W. Netcher in association with Brown, 
Burton & Davis, architect, built, 1900. 



One of the possible stylistic sources 
for the Tillinghast House, and a 
superb example of the English 
Shingle Style. 











HOPEDENE, Surrey, England, 
Norman Shaw, architect, built, 1873. 

This ostentatious residence was the re- 
sult of mixing scholarly details with the 
prevailing Shingle Style. The Tillinghast 
arms on the French Gothic dormer, with 
its motto "Fear Not and Be Just," 
gives the desired note of ancient lineage 
and baronial power. 

Gothic Dormer window from the Hotel de 
Bourgtheroude, Rouen, France, drawn by John Ruskin, 
English art critic, published in Lectures in 
Architecture and Painting, London, 1853. 



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EDWARD FORD HOU SE ( American Red Cross), 2205 Collingwood Avenue, 
George S. Mills, architect, built, 1901 (original veranda since removed). 

By 1900 formal Italian late Renaissance details began to appear as the in- 
formal exuberance of the Shingle Style drifted out of fashion. Ford's yellow 
brick residence was accentuated with terra cotta moldings and trim. The 
use of the bowed window treatment was characteristic of the first decade of 
the new century. 

JULIUS G. 
LAM SON HOUSE, 
2056 Scottwood 
Avenue, David L. 
Stine, architect, 
built, 1903. 





MOUNT 

PLEASANT, 

Philadelphia, 

Pennsylvania, 

architect unknown, 

built about 1753. 

Unlike Stine's design for the Libbey House, this structure shows the influence 
of the American Colonial Revival. It is one of the few residences in the Old 
West End still maintained by the original family. 




LEEPER-GEDDES HOUSE (Residence of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Toledo), 
2116 Parkwood Avenue, Thomas F. Huber, architect, built, 1903. 




MARBLE HOUSE, 

Newport, Rhode Island, 

Richard Morris Hunt, 

architect, built, 1892. 



One of the most palatial houses surviving in the area was designed in a style 
widely admired since the building of the White House. Though the veranda is 
a Victorian invention, Huber's treatment of the bowed element, the detailing 
and the proportions reflect the late Italian Renaissance architecture of Palladio. 




RUDOLF A. BARTLEY HOUSE, 

1855 Collingwood Avenue, Edward O. Fallis, 

architect, built, 1905. 



The revival of the French Renaissance 
style can be noted in the spectacular 
Bartley mansion. It is obviously influ- 
enced by Richard Morris Hunt's resi- 
dence for the Astor family built as a 
French chateau on Fifth Avenue, 




DOUBLE RESIDENCE FOR THE ASTOR FAMILY, 
New York, New York, Richard Morris Hunt, 

architect, built, 1893. 




DUNN-BLAIR HOUSE, 2049 Scottwood Avenue, 
Mills, Rhines, Bellman & Nordhoff, architects, 

built, 1915. 

As the eclectic period in American architecture passed out of style, a more 
exact duplication of European houses became the fashion. The Dunn-Blair 
House is the best example of this phase in Toledo. The model was the 1909 
addition, by the famed English architect, Edward L. Luytens, to the 17th 
century English manor house, Temple Dinsley in Hertfordshire. Originally, the 
roof of the Dunn-Blair House duplicated the English model. 



TEMPLE DINSLEY, Hertfordshire, England, 
West Wing Addition, Edward Landseer Luytens, 
architect, built, 1909.